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SAITAMA – Handed down through the generations. A big legacy in a tiny town

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Miyoshi Town is in Saitama Prefecture near the metropolis, Tokyo. Here, the Musashino leaf compost farming method has been handed down through the generations, practiced by individual farmers on their land with homestead woodland, farmland, and lowland forests. For about 360 years, this region has grown and preserved lowland forests called yama along with farmland, creating a landscape known as jiwari. In this method, fallen leaves from lowland forests are gathered and made into compost to fertilize the fields. This has helped make the soil fertile, and now the fields yield a wide variety of vegetables. A type of sweet potato named Tomi no Kawagoe Imo is sold directly by farmers in front of their houses. This local specialty is also processed into various products and are gaining popularity.

Lowland forests managed with the Musashino leaf composting farming method have formed a habitat area for a great diversity of plants and animals including rare species, helping to conserve biodiversity and cultivate a rich regional culture. This farming method has been handed down through the generations as a big legacy of the town. In 2017, it was designated as a Japanese Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage System, and now awaits recognition as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System.

Miyoshi Town Musashino Leaf Compost Farming World Agricultural Heritage Promotion Council leaf compost farming